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Megan Rapinoe hits back at US Soccer management: 'You're not lesser just because you're a girl'

The soccer legend, yet again, stood up for women in sport by criticizing the US Soccer Federation's stance on equal pay.

Megan Rapinoe hits back at US Soccer management: 'You're not lesser just because you're a girl'
Image Source: 2020 SheBelieves Cup - United States v Japan. FRISCO, TEXAS - MARCH 11. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

United States soccer star Megan Rapinoe recently put the country's Soccer Federation under fire after they claimed women soccer players should not earn as much as their male counterparts - because the latter apparently possess a "greater physical ability" - in response to a lawsuit filed by the women's national team. Following Wednesday's match at the SheBelieves Cup in Texas, the winger tore into the Federation, stating that all their comments were "false," CNN reports. Her strong statements represent the undercurrent feelings of sexism that the women's team has experienced for an extended period of time. Rapinoe, a strong proponent of equal pay for women soccer players, has yet again stood up for what she believes in.


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Just before the SheBelieves Cup match began on Wednesday, the entire women's national team stood for the national anthem. However, unlike every other occasion that they've done this, there was something different about this time: they wore their uniforms inside out to hide the US Soccer Federation's logo. This was the first part of their dissent. The team went on to play the match and, of course, brought home another cup. It is telling that their victory is not the crux of this story. Rather, this is about how despite how hard a group of women works to achieve more than their male counterparts do, they must still fight for equal rights.



The second act of dissent came when Rapinoe heavily criticized the US Soccer management. In a post-game interview, she asserted, "I just want to say, it's all false. To every girl out there, to every boy out there, who watches this team, who wants to be on this team or just wants to live their dream out, you are not lesser just because you're a girl. You are not better just because you're a boy." She was responding to the arguments made by the federation as per court documents filed earlier this week. The documents were part of a gender discrimination lawsuit filed a year ago by the women's national team.



The lawsuit declares that the women's team is paid less "for substantially equal work and by denying them at least equal playing, training, and travel conditions; equal promotion of their games; equal support and development for their games; and other terms and conditions of employment equal to the (men's national team)." The federation's attorneys, however, refused to see the sexism the management continues to so blatantly propagate. They argued that it was not a "sexist stereotype" to differentiate between the players by gender as the different levels of speed and strength required in the men's league is apparently somehow different.


Allegedly, it is "indisputable science" that men have a greater physical ability and therefore compete at a higher level than the women do. The filing claims that any and all laws governing equal pay "explicitly applies to jobs that require equal skills, and not to employees that possess equal skills." As this job in particular supposedly does not require equal skills, equal pay is not mandatory. Rapinoe responded to this specific argument as well. "We've sort of felt that those are some of the undercurrent feelings that they've had for a long time," she explained. "But to see that as the argument, as blatant misogyny and sexism as the argument against us, is really disappointing."



It is disappointing. Even though US Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro affirmed that he had directed their legal team to debate the lawsuit with respect, their attorneys have fallen short on these instructions. "Our (women's national team) players are incredibly talented and work tirelessly, as they have demonstrated time and again from their Olympic Gold medals to their World Cup titles," he stated. I have made it clear to our legal team that even as we debate facts and figures in the course of this case, we must do so with the utmost respect not only for our Women's National Team players but for all female athletes around the world. As we do, we will continue to work to resolve this suit in the best interest of everyone involved."



If it truly is the federation's intention to resolve the suit in everyone's best interest, they would recognize equal pay as the only solution to do so. Even the men's national team has come forward to admit that their women counterparts deserve a hike in compensation. In a statement they released in February, the team accused the management of "systematic gender discrimination," adding that the women are due "at least triple" in player compensation. What could be more convincing? With this in mind, the women's team is seeking over $66 million in damages. The first hearing for the trial is set to take place later this month on March 30.



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